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Reactor Core Was Severely Damaged - disaster may be '100 year battle'
The News - Current Events
April 01, 2011
japan nuclear meltdown tsunami earthquake disaster

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Friday that roughly 70 percent of the core of one reactor at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan had suffered severe damage.

His assessment of the damage to Reactor No. 1 was the most specific yet from an American official on how close the plant came to a full meltdown after it was hit by a severe earthquake and massive tsunami on March 11.

Japanese officials have spoken of “partial meltdown” at some of the stricken reactors. But they have been less than specific, especially on the question of how close No. 1 — the most badly damaged reactor — came to a full meltdown.

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Hi-Res Photos - Badly Damaged

fukushima daiichi nuclear plant meltown disaster damage

fukushima nuclear damage plant disaster meltdown

Crews 'facing 100-year battle' at Fukushima

A nuclear expert has warned that it might be 100 years before melting fuel rods can be safely removed from Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant.

The warning came as levels of radioactive iodine flushed into the sea near the plant spiked to a new high and the Wall Street Journal said it had obtained disaster response blueprints which said the plant's operators were woefully unprepared for the scale of the disaster.

Water is still being poured into the damaged reactors to cool melting fuel rods. But one expert says the radiation leaks will be ongoing and it could take 50 to 100 years before the nuclear fuel rods have completely cooled and been removed.

800 die in Ivory Coast ethnic violence
The News - War-Draft
April 01, 2011
800 die ivory coast ethnic violence

At least 800 people have been killed in the western Ivory Coast city of Duekoue this week, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has said.

They died in inter-communal violence in one district of the city, it added.

The head of the ICRC delegation in the country said the event was particularly shocking in its scale and brutality. Fighting has continued in Abidjan between forces loyal to the UN-recognised president Alassane Ouattara and the incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo.

Mr Ouattara was internationally recognised as president last year after the electoral commission declared him the winner of a November run-off vote, but Mr Gbagbo also claimed victory and refused to leave office. [ BBC NEWS ]

U.S. government microwave mind-control tests?
The News - Cover-Up-Conspiracy
April 01, 2011

A bizarre spate of television presenters dissolving into on-air gibberish has sparked claims that the U.S. military could be to blame. Are U.S. government microwave mind-control tests causing TV presenters' brains to melt down?

In four high-profile cases, the latest involving fast-talking Judge Judy, the presenters have started off speaking properly but have then descended into undecipherable nonsense - looking confused and unstable. 

The frequency of the 'attacks' - and the fact that recorded examples of the mental meltdowns have been popular on websites - has led to conspiracy theorists pointing the finger at shadowy government experiments.

Apocalypse Now? Japan...
The News - Natural Disasters
April 01, 2011
apocalypse now japan disaster nuclear earthquake tsunami
The ultimate disaster scenario would see the Tokyo region heavily contaminated by radioactivity following an explosion and radioactive fallout at the Fukushima plant. Such a situation would lead to the creation of an exclusion zone affecting thirty million inhabitants of a city that is at the heart of the flow of global basic necessities. Tokyo is one of the world’s major financial centers, one of the three management hubs of the foreign exchange markets (along with London and New York) and the Japanese economy supplies a quantity of electronic components vital to the global economy.

This morning on ABC News we read that a nuclear expert has warned that it might be 100 years before melting fuel rods can be safely removed from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant.“As the water leaks out, you keep on pouring water in, so this leak will go on forever,” said Dr. John Price, a former member of the Safety Policy Unit at the UK’s National Nuclear Corporation. “The final thing is that the reactors will have to be closed and the fuel removed, and that is 50 to 100 years away.”

Levels of the radioactive isotope iodine 131 have continued to rise, testing at 4,385 times the statutory limit on March 31st, nearly four times higher than on Sunday, March27th, said Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy director general of Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.
Doomsday nuclear bunker sales up1000% after Japan Earthquake & Tsunami
The News - Current Events
April 01, 2011
doomsday bunker nuclear disaster earthquake

Reservations for a doomsday bunker in the U.S. have sky rocketed since Japan's catastrophic earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown.

The 137,000sq ft bunker - designed to house 950 people for a year and withstand a 50 megaton blast - is currently being built under the grasslands of Nebraska.

Vivos, the California-based company behind it, is taking $5,000 (£3,100) deposits, which will have to be topped up to $25,000 (£15,600) to secure a place. It says applications have soared 1000 per cent in the wake of the disasters in Japan. And the bunkers will be kitted out with all the modern conveniences the American consumer has come to expect.

Once finished the complex will feature four levels of residential suites, a dental and medical center, kitchens, pet kennels, a bakery, a prayer room, a fully stocked wine cellar and even a prison to detain any misbehaving residents.

Millions of sites hit with mass-injection cyber attack
The News - Current Events
April 01, 2011
Hundreds of thousands -- and possibly millions -- of websites have been hit with a cyberattack that some are calling "one of the biggest mass-injection attacks we've ever seen."

The attack was discovered on March 29 by security firm WebSense, and the injected domain was called lizamoon.com -- thus, the name of the mass-injection is "LizaMoon." According to WebSense, LizaMoon uses SQL Injection to add malicious script to compromised sites. While the first injected domain was lizamoon.com, additional URLs have since been injected in the attack (WebSense has a full list here).

The method of using an injected script redirects users to a rogue AV site, which tries to get people to install a fake anti-virus program called Windows Stability Center. [ COMPUTER WORLD ]

Ancient Ocean 'Dead Zone' Delayed Life After Mass Extinction
The News - Science-Astronomy
March 31, 2011
ocean dead zone disaster

A flood of nutrients may have created an oxygen-starved ocean about 250 million years ago, preventing life from bouncing back for a few million years after a mass extinction wiped out 90 percent of marine species, a new study indicates.

The enriched, yet oxygen-starved ocean would have been similar to today's dead zones that appear in the modern ocean often as a result of agricultural runoff, as in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Permian-Triassic extinction, which hit about 250 million years ago, is believed to have been the result of widespread volcanic eruptions in what is now Siberia, which poured carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Although the dates are inexact so far, it seems that life took an unusually long time to recover — possibly as much as 5 million years. [ Oceans in Peril: Primed for Mass Extinction? ] - [ LIVE SCIENCE ]

8 Ways Monsanto is destroying our health
The News - Climate-Environment
March 31, 2011
monsanto destroying health gm food

Lots of talk these days about the bullying of young boys and girls in school by more aggressive students. This brings to my mind the biggest bully of all: the biotech company, Monsanto Corporation.

Taken in context, Monsanto’s list of corporate crimes should have been enough to pull their corporate charter years ago. And yet we allow them to continue to destroy our food supply, our health and the planet. Monsanto or Monsatan?

Take a look at the company’s track record and decide for yourself.

Japan Crisis overview & updates
The News - Current Events
March 31, 2011
fukushima plant japan crisis disaster earthquake tsunami disaster
  • Police, rescue workers and family members could be exposed to radiation
  • Mother of 'Fukushima 50' member says they expect to die
  • Radioactivity levels in the ocean 4,385 times above regulatory limit
  • Ground water levels are 10,000 times the Government health standard
  • Fisherman warned not to operate within 12 miles of plant
  • Compensation claims could top $12bn
  • Power firm's shares lose 80% of value - may need government bailout
  • President still recovering in hospital recovering from 'fatigue and stress'
  • U.S. sends specialist Marine unit to assist in decontamination
  • Traces of radioactive particles found in U.S. milk

Up to 1,000 bodies of victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami have not been collected because of fears of high levels of radiation.

Police sources said bodies within the 12-mile evacuation zone around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant had been 'exposed to high levels of radiation after death'.

It follows the discovery of a body on Sunday in Okuma, just three miles from the power plant, which revealed elevated levels of radiation. [ DAILY MAIL UK ]

NASA Study Acknowledges Solar Cycle, Not Man, Responsible for Past Warming
The News - Science-Astronomy
March 31, 2011
sun solar cycle spots peak 2012
Some researchers believe that the solar cycle influences global climate changes.  They attribute recent warming trends to cyclic variation.  Skeptics, though, argue that there's little hard evidence of a solar hand in recent climate changes.

Now, a new research report from a surprising source may help to lay this skepticism to rest.  A study from
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland looking at climate
data over the past century has concluded that solar variation has made a significant impact on the Earth's climate.  The report concludes that evidence for climate changes based on solar radiation can be traced back as far as the Industrial Revolution.

Past research has shown that the sun goes through eleven year cycles.  At the cycle's peak, solar activity occurring near sunspots is particularly intense, basking the Earth in solar heat.  According to Robert Cahalan, a climatologist at the Goddard Space Flight Center, "Right now, we are in between major ice ages, in a period that has been called the Holocene." [ DAILY TECH ]
Strong magnitude 6.4 earthquake strikes near Tonga
The News - Current Events
March 31, 2011
A strong magnitude 6.4 earthquake has struck at sea northwest of Tonga in the South Pacific. There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage and no tsunami warning has been issued.

The U.S. Geological Survey says Thursday's quake was centered 272 miles (438 kilometers) northwest of the Tongan town of Neiafu at a depth of 14 miles (23 kilometers). Earthquakes are common in the South Pacific.

Mount Nyiragongo - One of the most dangerous volcanoes on Earth
The News - Natural Disasters
March 30, 2011
Mount Nyiragongo volcano deadly threat

Deadly volcano that's one of the most dangerous on Earth - but scientists can't predict when it will erupt because it's in the middle of a war zone.

Mount Nyiragongo is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world - and scientists say it is only a matter of time before it makes the city below a modern day Pompeii.

But they don't know when since, located as it is in the war-torn eastern edge of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the two mile high cauldron of lava is also one of the least well understood.  At the base of Nyiragongo sprawls Goma, a city of an estimated one million people, numbers swelling by the day as villagers from the countryside seek refuge from rebel and government forces.

Twice in recent years Nyiragongo's eruptions have hit the city, destroying homes and sending residents fleeing. But now, seismologists believe, the risk is not just near the city, but directly beneath it.
Garden As If Your Life Depended On It, Because It Does
The News - Current Events
March 30, 2011
garden your life might depend on it

There are at least five reasons why more of us should take up the spade, make some compost, and start gardening with a vengeance.

Spring has sprung -- at least south of the northern tier of states where snow still has a ban on it -- and the grass has 'riz. And so has the price of most foods, which is particularly devastating just now when so many Americans are unemployed, underemployed, retired or retiring, on declining or fixed incomes and are having to choose between paying their mortgages, credit card bills, car payments, and medical and utility bills and eating enough and healthily. Many are eating more fast food, prepared foods, junk food -- all of which are also becoming more expensive -- or less food.

In some American towns, and not just impoverished backwaters, as many as 30 percent of residents can't afford to feed themselves and their families sufficiently, let alone nutritiously. Here in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina where I live it's 25 percent. Across the country one out of six of the elderly suffers from malnutrition and hunger. And the number of children served one or two of their heartiest, healthiest meals by their schools grows annually as the number of them living at poverty levels tops 20 percent. Thirty-seven million Americans rely on food banks that now routinely sport half-empty shelves and report near-empty bank accounts. And this is a prosperous nation!

Starquakes Reveal Pulse of Giant Stars
The News - Science-Astronomy
March 30, 2011
starquake red giant star

Astronomers have taken the pulse of red giant stars by measuring their starquakes — stellar shivers that run so deep they can reach a star's core, scientists say.

These new findings can help scientists separate the vastly different types of red giants that would otherwise look virtually identical, which could help shed light on the future of our sun and the history of the galaxy.

Red giants are the swollen fate that awaits stars such as our own sun as they begin to exhaust their primary source of fuel, the hydrogen near their cores. The byproduct of the nuclear fusion that powers the sun — helium — accumulates over time, forcing hydrogen into a shell around the core that burns more vigorously than before.

Approximately 5 billion years from now, this will force our sun to swell to more than 100 times its current size, turning it into a red giant. After red giants age, they should, in principle, start burning the helium in their cores as well. However, although theoretical calculations predicted that this profound transformation should occur, scientists had never actually witnessed it, since the change would be largely invisible from the outside.
Japan on 'maximum alert' over nuclear plant
The News - Current Events
March 29, 2011
Japan said on Tuesday it is on "maximum alert" over a crippled nuclear plant where highly radioactive water has halted repair work and plutonium has been found in the soil.

The earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan's northeast coast and left about 28,000 dead or missing also knocked out reactor cooling systems at the Fukushima plant, which has leaked radiation into the air and sea.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan conceded the situation at the coastal atomic power station remained "unpredictable" and pledged his government would "tackle the problem while in a state of maximum alert".[ breitbart ]

Japan's Mega Disaster Offers Scary Glimpse of Future
The News - Natural Disasters
March 28, 2011
japan mega disaster earthquake tsunami nuclear meltdown

The crisis in Japan could be considered the first "complex megadisaster" the world has ever seen - a potent combination of natural and technological calamities that might become more common in the future.

A megadisaster is a catastrophe that threatens very quickly to overwhelm an area's capacity to get people to safety, treat casualties, protect vital infrastructure and control panic or chaos, said Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

"A complex megadisaster, which is what I've been calling the crisis in Japan, is a natural catastrophe overlaid by a technological situation," Redlener told LiveScience. "You have four catastrophes in Japan: the earthquake, the tsunami, the continuing concerns about the instability of the nuclear power plant at Fukushima, and the humanitarian crisis of having hundreds of thousands of people displaced."

Although the world has seen countless natural and man-made disasters — including the 1986 Chernobyl explosion in Ukraine, the worst nuclear accident in history, and the 1984 leak of poisonous chemicals in Bhopal, India, the largest industrial catastrophe to date — "what we haven't had is all this happening simultaneously," Redlener said.  [ LIVE SCIENCE ] - [ The Next Earthquake - A list of cities at risk ] - [ Top 5 Natural Disaster Threats to U.S. ] - [ Mega Disasters - New York Earthquake, West Coast Tsunami, NYC hurricane ]

A Billion-plus people to lack water in 2050
The News - Climate-Environment
March 28, 2011
water shortage disaster 2050 prediction
More than one billion urban residents will face serious water shortages by 2050 as climate change worsens effects of urbanization, with Indian cities among the worst hit, a study said Monday.

The shortage threatens sanitation in some of the world's fastest-growing cities but also poses risks for wildlife if cities pump in water from outside, said the article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study found that under current urbanization trends, by mid-century some 993 million city dwellers will live with less than 100 liters (26 gallons) each day of water each -- roughly the amount that fills a personal bathtub -- which authors considered the daily minimum.

Adding on the impact of climate change, an additional 100 million people will lack what they need for drinking, cooking, cleaning, bathing and toilet use. [ YAHOO NEWS ]

UFO Sighting Spooks Lafayette, Colorado
The News - Weird-Strange
March 28, 2011
colorado ufo 2011

Was it an airplane? Was it a satellite?  The strange triangular formation of lights hovering above Lafayette, Colo., last week has many wondering if it's a sign that we're not alone.

Leroy van der Vegt and his son Nick captured the sight on camera.

"It was completely quiet. No noise at all," van der Vegt said.

The unidentified red lights did not blink but were in a triangular shape as they hovered in the sky.

Van der Vegt doesn't know what it was but he is sure that what he saw was not a satellite, helicopter or airplane.

Eventually, the triangle headed northeast and the lights faded, van der Vegt said. [ VIDEO HERE ]

In the middle of hell : 360 degree views of Japan disaster
The News - Natural Disasters
March 28, 2011
Explore the devastation in Japan in high detail with these exclusive 360 degree images. [ NEW.COM.AU ]
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